This letter is in response to the column written in the Feb. 15 edition of the Payson Roundup by Jeffery York. I am aware the letter was printed under "opinions," however, I feel obligated to tell (Mr. York) he forgot a few things when he decided to chastise the Southwestern ranchers.
Cattle ranching in the United States, particularly in the western area, has always been and always will be a proud tradition of many people, young and old.
It has always been Payson's tradition, right along with Winslow, Wikkiup, Bowie, San Simon and many other small towns here in Arizona. We even have cattle ranches in Phoenix where the cowboy spirit has diminished and almost ceases to be.
I don't know you, and I don't know how long you have been around, but for as long as I can remember Arizona has had something called the Sonoran Desert. In fact, if you look on any map of Arizona I'm sure you will find that it takes up most of the state.
Arizona has had its fair share of droughts in the past decade and you putting the blame on cattle was wrong.
Maybe we should ship all livestock, including horses, pigs, goats, etc. to Australia and you could eat your bacon out of a can. Maybe we should just forget the whole rodeo business and just feel satisfied with riding stick horses made out of wood. But that would upset the trees wouldn't it?
My name is Kayla Dillman and I am 15 years old. I live in Gisela on a two-acre parcel with two horses, two dogs, three cats, six chickens and a partridge in a pear tree.
I enjoy barrel racing among many other animal-related activities. My life pretty much revolves around my livestock. I love and care for them every day. That includes the unpleasantries.
I am a seventh-generation Arizonan and I plan to some day have a working cattle ranch of my own. The most important thing you forgot to mention in your column is that so many hopes, dreams, plans and lives have a great deal to do with ranching.
I know I can't change your mind about this, but I can ask you to please think about the people who have put so much of their lives into keeping the old ways of ranching and rodeo a part of American tradition.
Kayla Dillman, 15 years old, Gisela